Kill The Bereans – The Murder of Discernment in Modern Christianity
The Christ-chosen, Spirit-inspired Apostle, Paul, told Timothy to warn “the brothers” of false teachers, the wolves, who bring false doctrines and demonic lies disguised as truth.
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus,being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6
The “good servant” is to do this. The “good servant” can be recognized by the sheep as one who is doing this. It is a mark of faithfulness, of obedience in a life wedded to Christ’s truth and willing to endure scorn for the sake of his Lord and Savior. These “good servants” are men of God, a gift to the church given by Christ Himself. They are worthy our attentive ears because they are the Bereans.
Bereans are being slaughtered by professing brothers
In our contemporary church, however, Bereans are being slaughtered by professing brothers who falsely believe unity is enhanced by the lack of biblically-informed, biblically-commanded, critical discernment. The professing church is murdering Bereans.It is more popular to murder with scorn and disregard those who use the Biblical gift of discernment than it is to simply thank them for loving the brothers enough to expose and kill the wolves and false teachers who wear the clothing of a shepherd (“kill” them by the very act of destroying their false doctrines with God’s truth and exposing them as charlatans).The mantra of today’s worldly, deceived “Christianity” has become “Touch not the Lords Anointed.” Either the explicit or implicit clamoring of this ill-used phrase wreaks a disastrous effect within the church and, it is exacerbated most visibly by the increasing prevalence of “celebrity” Christianity that has overtaken every facet of the modern church.
When the lens of discernment is turned on our favorite pastor, teacher or podcaster the willingness for discretion is deleted.The willingness to accept discernment when talking about cults, false religions, and well-known charlatans is one thing. But when the lens of discernment is turned to the celebrity pastor, teacher, podcaster, or fellow, professing “brother,” the willingness for discretion is deleted, particularly when it’s pointed at “our” favorite celebrity.
It is within this context that the call for discernment has been resisted by a shout and demand from the people “Kill the Bereans.” In so staunchly demanding the gallows for those who dare challenge “our” celebrity, those who do so reveal what might only be learned either from discernment or from a vigorous, Scripture-enriched session of “examine thyself.” The exaltation of any pastor, preacher, teacher, podcaster, or brother to a pedestal above the reach of discerning concern is, flatly, idolatry. The celebrity placed on a throne that is unwelcoming to discernment has become an idolatrous replacement. Such a throne belongs only to the Lord, and by His Word it has been established.
We are commanded to be Bereans.Every Scripture-informed believer recognizes and commends the need for Berean discernment. It is Scripturally prescribed for the body of Christ to be warned about the false teachers, wolves, heretics and the false, demon-inspired doctrines that they are teaching.On every side there are calls for discernment and it is so needed. But, it is not only needed in the face of popularly recognized charlatans. It is also needed with our own favorite Christian celebrities. Yet when the lens of discernment is applied to them, the opposing side – who is often more celebrity than Christ centered – lashes out, blindly defending their own. Truth is compromised for jabs. One-ups-man-ship is preferred over faithfulness to the Word.Brothers and sisters, such should not be found in the Bride of Christ.Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2We are called to reprove, rebuke and exhort with patience and long-suffering. This admonition is addressing those inside the church precisely because we can all be in error.But, the wolves, false teachers and heretics refuse to be corrected in any way. Such Berean illumination exposes those who have crept into the church for their pride hates to pain of rebuke. Their arrogance scoffs at reproof and any notion of exhortation is an affront to their scholarly self- aggrandizement.
We must not be beyond humble correction by anyone who is a fellow heir of salvation.Brothers and sisters we must not be beyond humble correction by anyone who is a fellow heir of salvation. Unfortunately we often fail and tempers flare. The ever-watching world sees us sinning against each other and because of this, Scripture says, the world finds opportunities to blaspheme God.We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised an eternal one.We are not promised a kingdom built by our hands, but one built by the King Himself. It is a kingdom He promises to bring with Him.We are promised persecution, slander, lies, hatred and a world that wants us dead just as it did to our Savior. This should not be a surprise to any discerning Berean, though it does break our hearts at times when friends turn on us and enemies surround us.We should not be surprised by trials, tribulation and persecution when it comes from the world because we are not called to be like the world but separate from it. Scripture says that in this world we will have struggle, sorrow and hardship, not a life of ease and comfort.We can find comfort in a Kingdom who’s builder and maker is God. God is mighty to save. This light affliction is intended to produce a greater weight of glory and to drive us deeper into Gods Word and further sanctify us.While all this is true, let’s not forget to find comfort praying for each other as beloved brothers and sisters. Let’s remember to display love and affection for one another. Let’s remember that Jesus said the world will know us by our love for one another.
It is not unloving to expose error or false teachingIt is not unloving to expose error or false teaching and it certainly is needed within the church that is so filled with false teaching, heretics, wolves and doctrines of demons. But, let’s be careful not to kill our fellow Berean brothers and sisters.So, look up Bereans, continue to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints. Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season. Love those who hate and persecute you. Pray always that an entrance of the Gospel will be made into the hearts of those who will stone you. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
Matthew 24:4-14And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Strive to be above reproach, teachable, humble, unified and praying for one another
Our mission brothers and sisters is one of extreme importance and souls are at stake here. The gospel we preach must be clear, and our love so resounding that we do not fear offending the work and exposing Satan’s hirelings. But, please let’s never be above correction and strive to be above reproach, teachable, humble, unified and praying for one another as we seek to live in peace with all men as much say it depends upon us. Let us outdo one another in love and grace and kindness and uplifting our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Grace and PeacePastor Justin Pierce